A quintet of speedy Fire sprinters blazed their way to personal best times when it counted the most at the Section 2AA Championship meet hosted by Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. On the strength of four Holy Family school records and Section 2AA record caliber times four Fire girls and one Fire boy earned the right to travel to Hamline University on June 7-8 to compete in the MSHSL State Track and Field Championship meet.
At the end of two days the Holy Family girls finished eighth in the Section 2AA team standings behind team champion Chanhassen’s 137.5 points. The Holy Family boys’ team finished in 11th place in the Section 2AA standings behind team champion Buffalo.
Holy Family Catholic sophomore sprinter Claire Oberle made the Section 2AA records in her races look slow, staying ahead of the wind to sweep the Section 2AA short sprints titles in the 100 and 200 meter dash races for the second consecutive season, and in the process qualifying herself for her third consecutive state meet. Not only that, Oberle’s times in the 100 and 200 meters were well ahead of the Section 2AA event records for each event. Oberle knifed through the competition in a personal best and Holy Family Catholic record clocking of 12.05 seconds (breaking her own record of 12.35 seconds set at the previous meet), almost 0.4 faster than the second place competitor, and though wind-aided, was able to finish well ahead of the Section 2AA record standard of 12.35 seconds set by Willmar’s Rose Jackson in 2011.
Through three years in Class A and Class AA competition, Oberle has not lost an individual section race.
“Claire is very excited to return to the State Meet in her favorite events (100m and 200m dashes), but she may be just as excited that she will have 3 more relay teammates to accompany her to Hamline this time around to share in the state meet experience,” said head coach Ian Parzyck.
Oberle found another gear in the 200 meter dash. Running out of the preferred lane and with a strong gust of wind at her back, she made easy work of the competition, cruising to her second victory with a time of 24.77 seconds, and breaking her own school record of 25.46. She was 0.9 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor (25.66), and while again wind-aided, Oberle darted across line well ahead of the all-time Section 2AA record of 25.12 set by Willmar’s Brianna Fernholz in 2008.
Oberle also anchored Holy Family’s 4×400 meter relay of herself, juniors Eileen Curran and Ali Ryan-Mosely and senior Aly Anton to a second place finish and grabbing a state spot. The Fire sprint relay team was seventh after one leg, but gradually nudged their way back into contention for Oberle, who closed with a 56.9 second 400 meter split and helped Holy Family qualify its first ever 4×400 relay for state with a new Holy Family Catholic school record of 4:05.26.
For the Holy Family boys, their final run in Section 2AA relied heavily upon the legs of sophomore standout sprinter and jumper Chazz Johnson, and Johnson did not disappoint.
In a very electric 100 meter dash final, Johnson sprung from the starters blocks and in a hotly contested, back and forth race against Hutchinson’s Robbie Grimsely, eventually finished second overall and qualifying for state, missing the top spot by a mere 0.03 of a second (winning time was 10.90).
“When [Chazz] found out how close he was to the other competitors and the qualifying standards in the 100, he went after it big time, and came up with a quality performance which landed him in the state meet,” Parzyck said. “We were very excited and very proud to see him accomplish what he did in this race, and look forward to him competing in his first state meet in the sprints.”
With strong winds gusting and wreaking havoc with every jumpers’ approaches, Johnson led the long jump competition the entire way with an event best mark of 21 feet, 10.75 inches. It took a superb effort by a senior jumper of 22 feet on his final jump to pass Johnson, but Johnson’s Class AA Honor Roll jump was able to advance him to his second consecutive state meet in the event.
Holy Family will say goodbye to Section 2AA and Class AA competition entirely when it makes its second consecutive and final appearance at Class AA state this weekend. Next season, the Fire will return to Class A.